The conference offers something for both experienced professionals and ‘newbies.’
Said be the only event dedicated to all aspects of electrocoating, Ecoat18, presented by the Electrocoat Association and Products Finishing, will feature keynote speeches, technical presentations, open-forum discussions, networking opportunities and tabletop exhibits by industry suppliers, as well as an industry awards luncheon.
The event offers something for both professionals with years of experience in the ecoat business and those interested in learning more about the technology.
Kevin Coursin, global accounts manager for George Koch Sons, says the conference is a great networking and learning opportunity for “newbies” as well as seasoned industry veterans. “If you’ve been in the industry for a little bit, there may be some things that you want to brush up on,” he says. “There are always new things that you hear when you come in, and there’s often that ‘aha’ moment, when someone will say, ‘Hey, that’s really going to help me when I go back to my company and I can solve a problem that we’ve been having.’”
New this year is an add-on program billed as Boot Camp 101, a series of educational sessions to be held on Tuesday, April 24, the first day of the event, that will introduce ecoat technology, including different types of ecoatings and applications. It also will delve into the components of an ecoat system, including pretreatment, equipment, material handling and production efficiency.
The conference itself kicks off that evening with a poolside luau hosted by the Electrocoat Association and Products Finishing, during which attendees can catch up with customers and colleagues before the start of the formal conference program.
Wednesday’s activities start with a optional Leadership Breakfast featuring Products Finishing columnist Michael Guckes, chief economist for Gardner Intelligence, who will present the financial outlook for major end markets that affect ecoating. This is followed by a keynote address on evolving trends by Kevin Braun, vice president of Industrial Coatings Americas, PPG Industries. The rest of the day is rounded out by a variety of “learning stations” covering such topics as coating, waste treatment and filtration, process control, and preventive maintenance, among others. Closing out the day will be the popular Exhibit Night, a supplier-hosted evening during which attendees can browse “showrooms” and discuss specific products and processes with company representatives, while also socializing and enjoying food and drink.
Ecoat18 concludes on Thursday after a second keynote address and a full day of additional sessions.
Tim Stechschulte, regional account manager for Eisenmann Corp., says he recommends the conference attendance to all his customers because of the changing nature of the finishing industry. “I think the No. 1 reason someone should go to the ecoat conference or even go back is to find out what has changed and what’s coming up,” he says. “Once you start talking to people, they share their ideas and they will open up and tell you different ideas on what they’ve experienced.”
Education is one of Ecoat18’s biggest draws. “It’s truly a learning event,” says Mike Stuhldreher, market development manager for Axalta Coating Systems. “From the leadership of the largest corporations and manufacturing down through the end users, everyone leaves with lots of information.”
Ecoat18 is not all work and no play, however. Having been held in Orlando, Florida, in previous years, the 2018 event moves to the luxurious Innisbrook Golf and Spa Resort in Palm Harbor, just outside of Tampa. Set on 900 wooded acres, this upscale golf resort has numerous onsite restaurants and casual dining options, as well as amenities such as a full-service spa and salon, fitness center, tennis center, and swimming pools.
Karen McGlothlin, Electrocoat Association executive director, also encourages attendance by both suppliers and their customers: “Ecoat18 is a great platform for all the suppliers and end users in the industry to come together under one roof.”
For information, visit ecoat18.com.
This paper is a peer-reviewed and edited version of a presentation delivered at NASF SUR/FIN 2012 in Las Vegas, Nev., on June 13, 2012.
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